A New Diabetes Training Course for Community Health Workers from the National Eye Institute

NEI Diabetes Training Program Toolkit

The National Eye Institute (NEI) has released the Diabetes and Healthy Eyes Toolkit, which includes a free interactive online training course for community health workers. The online course, which was developed by NEI’s National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP), teaches participants how to lead an educational session for people who have diabetes.

The course uses animations, interactive features, and quizzes to provide information about the anatomy of the eye, the effects of diabetes on vision, and the importance of getting a dilated eye exam.

The mission of NEI, a part of the National Institutes of Health, is to “conduct and support research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to blinding eye diseases, visual disorders, mechanisms of visual function, preservation of sight, and the special health problems and requirements of the blind.”

The goal of NEHEP is to “ensure that vision is a health priority by translating eye and vision research into public and professional education programs. NEHEP supports collaboration among eye health professionals, healthcare providers, patients, and the public.”

The Diabetes and Healthy Eyes Training Course and Toolkit

The Diabetes and Healthy Eyes Toolkit can be incorporated into existing diabetes classes or information sessions, and is available in English and Spanish. The online course teaches participants to use the Toolkit to lead an educational session for people who have diabetes. After completing the course, participants receive a personalized certificate.

The components of this comprehensive community-based diabetes training program are the following:

The Online Training Course

The free Diabetes and Healthy Eyes Toolkit Online Training Course can help you learn how to use the Diabetes and Healthy Eyes Toolkit effectively. The course takes approximately one hour to complete and will help you to (a) identify eye complications related to diabetes; (b) describe what people with diabetes can do to protect their vision; and (c) use the Toolkit materials to deliver an educational session.

The Toolkit

NEI recommends ordering the Toolkit before taking the online training course. This will allow you to refer to the training materials as they are described and demonstrated in the course.

The Toolkit includes the following materials, which can be downloaded or ordered online:

  • Diabetes and Healthy Eyes Flipchart: Use this in small group settings to help educate people about diabetic eye disease.
  • Diabetes and Healthy Eyes Module: Use this Module to find detailed information about diabetic eye disease and instructions on how to use the flipchart for an educational presentation.
  • Handouts: Print copies (in pdf format) of the handouts found in the Module appendices.
  • Watch Out for Your Vision! (¡Ojo con su Visión!) booklet: Distribute copies of this booklet (in pdf format) to people with diabetes to help them learn about the importance of getting a dilated eye exam at least once a year.
  • Medicare Benefits Card: Help promote the glaucoma and diabetic eye disease benefit under Medicare.
  • Publications Order Form: Order diabetic eye disease materials and resources.
  • Evaluation Form: Share your thoughts and experiences using the Toolkit.
  • CD-ROM: Contains copies of the module, flipchart, and handouts.
  • TRACK Diabetes Magnet: (English only) Give tips to people with diabetes about keeping their health on TRACK.
  • Poster: (Spanish only) Remind people with diabetes about getting a dilated eye exam at least once a year.

Additional Information from VisionAware

Visit VisionAware.org to learn more about diabetes and diabetic retinopathy, low vision specialists, the low vision examination, and vision rehabilitation services.

You can use the American Foundation for the Blind Directory of Services to locate low vision and vision rehabilitation services that are available in your state and local area.

VisionAware also provides a wide array of customized videos and personal stories to help you learn more about changing your home; daily living activities; orientation & mobility; using technology; hearing and vision loss; preventing falls; and improving lighting.